A new drug to treat C. difficile patients has gone on sale in the UK for the first time.
C. difficile is a spore-forming bacterial species associated with severe, sometimes fatal, diarrhoea. It is unclear how many healthy, asymptomatic adults carry C. diff in their colons, but in times of ill health, and especially after broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment, it can overgrow and cause disease.
As C. difficile infections are usually caused by antibiotics, most cases happen in a healthcare environment, causing it to be dubbed a ‘hospital superbug’.
But for the first time in 50 years, a new drug to treat C. difficile will be available to buy in the UK. Dificlir, made by Japanese firm Astellas, stops the bug producing the poisons. It also prevents it from making spores that help its spread.
Whilst studies show that Dificlir is no better at treating the initial infection than existing drugs, it halves the odds of weakened patients already relapsing.
Robert Masterson, a superbug expert from the University of the West of Scotland, said that the medicine could spare 10 in every 100 patients from relapsing.
However, at a pricey £67.50 a tablet, the twice-daily pill could be saved for the most severely ill patients in the NHS and those with health insurance.
Graziella Kontkowski, founder of the patient group c-diff support (CORR), said: ‘I would like to hope that with this new treatment, recurrences of Cdiff will soon be a thing of the past.’
Official guidance on NHS use is due in the next few weeks.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012